Thursday, March 31, 2011

NDBML Manchester 27th March

Northern Doubles

Yes, I've indicated that this is a busy time. Straight after the Lost Legion DBA it was back up north for the Manchester spring round of the Northern Doubles.

Field of Glory
for me.

So, putting the Armati aside and the DBA aside ... what was left in the Field of Glory bag?

Well a big dumb version of my Condotta Italians, for starters.

The NDBML uses a handicapping system: armies are graded from 1 to 3 depending on how many supertroops and Inspired Commanders you have. An army of elite and superior troops with an IC would be grade 1. An army with none of either would be grade 3. Having more than 15 battlegroups shuttles the army up a grade.

Teams need to use one army from each grade during the year, and score some extra points by winning above their rating.

As my Italians have no superior troops anyway (and I am not a smart enough player to benefit from an IC ....)... they are a natural for a Grade 3 ... Just usually I have a few more battlegroups (16 at 800 points, 18 at 900). So it just needed dumbing down to 15 for this outing.

The two games on offer produced the alpha and the omega of open competition. Game 1 was against Les Mitchell's Early Successors (Medieval Knights vs Hellenistic pikes!) .... Game 2 was against Colin Betts's Hungarians. So one completely out of period and one completely plausible in period.

The Knights against pikes was the usual inconclusive run around that FoG gives you (whether way out of period, or more plausible if the pikes are Swiss): Knights are generally too feeble against formed foot; drilled foot are too manoeuvrable against mounted (well in general, in FoG drilled foot manoeuvre and move too quickly and in too many battalion-sized groups to give an authentic flavour of ancient battle ... just it shows up worst against mounted ...) ...

No criticism of the players, we had a good enough game, and everyone played nicely ... just it is very much an academic exercise, it isn't a proper wargame.

(a game of movement before the crunch - Condotta vs Hungarians)

Against the Hungarians, of course, we had a swirling cavalry engagement, our flanks enveloped but our knights resilient. The Hungarians have better knights - just about - but we have more. All the Condotta knights are drilled, so are better able to control their charge ... but, for reasons that are better left to a different forum, FoG rates them as average, so they aren't that reliable once they start taking Cohesion Tests.

It is also worth saying - rightly or wrongly (and that is debatable) - that FoG rates the crossbow as primarily useful against cavalry (worse ... would you believe? ... than a 'bent bit of wood' bow against most infantry!). The Italians, other than the knights, are predominantly crossbow-armed. So the army is optimised by the rule writers against cavalry, not foot. So, bad news against Les, good news against Colin.

(Shaping up for the confrontation - the knights line up whilst, in the background, Hawkwood's English try to hold the end of an outflanked Italian position)
We had a colossal clash of knights in the latter. About 100 knights in one big clash, with half the generals on the battlefield bundling in. My long suffering doubles partner, Chris, threw some wonderful dice, and passed some improbable tests ... Colin didn' ... and didn't. So, yes, of course there was a lot of luck involved - then again, we used our advantages of better drill and bigger units reasonably wisely, so have no complaints when it works.

We ended up with a split result against us vs the Successors, and reasonably good win against the Hungarians. We didn't get our camp looted or our generals killed (which makes a change - but then it was only two games ...)... So a fun day and a respectable finish ...

You can get the full results here: the Maws NDBML page

These one day FoG bashes are great value and well worth the trip. The Northerners are always very welcoming, and always give a good game (pitched competitively if you are a seasoned player, helpfully if you are a beginner) - have a look at the Maws page ... you might find one that's handy for you.

Mostly, it is FoG, of course, but there is DBMM on offer too, and this is well and regularly supported. All ancients, as it should be ... though there is FoG-R ever on the horizon ...

Well ... Battle Day next ... Hmmm, I wonder what Rick Priestley's 'Hail Caesar' will be like (and who will have the baggage coming up with Pre' ?)?

Thanks everyone.

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